Four Overlooked Literary Classics

Join Raymond Fleischmann, author of How Quickly She Disappears, for a list of four literary novels that have stood the test of time and deserve a larger readership. BONUS: Sign in and comment on the post for a chance to win a copy of How Quickly She Disappears.

When some readers hear the word “literary,” they begin thinking “boring.” Slow-paced. Low-stakes. Unexciting. And sometimes that’s true. In the quest for artistic expression and resonance, it can be easy for a writer to value style over substance and create a novel that’s simultaneously beautiful but somehow dull.

There’s a sweet spot, I think, in which a novel can be both elegant in its expression and utterly captivating in its plot. Here are four literary classics that fit that bill and deserve a wider readership:

The Pedersen Kid by William H. Gass

Included within Gass’ 1968 story collection In the Heart of the Heart of the Country, this novella is a masterful study of first-person perspective, location, and suspense. Alternatingly madcap and deadly serious, it tells the story of a snowed-in family in rural North Dakota. Jorge, the adolescent narrator, is the son of an abusive alcoholic and a doting mother, whose family is rounded-out by a hired farm hand named Hans, who feels more or less like a big brother to Jorge. In the midst of a snowstorm, a neighboring child—the Pedersen kid—arrives at Jorge’s home half-dead, half-frozen, and claiming that his family has been ruthlessly murdered by a man with yellow gloves. Jorge, his father, and Hans set out in the snow to investigate, and what follows is a slightly surreal story of terror, family dysfunction, and Jorge’s coming-of-age.

 

The Assistant by Bernard Malamud

In my humble opinion, Malamud is one of the greatest American writers of the mid-20th century, and it’s baffling and a bit tragic that he seems to be falling by the wayside. Mostly known for his novel The Natural, which of course was adapted into the 1984 movie starring Robert Redford, Malamud’s second novel The Assistant is an underrated masterpiece in a myriad of ways. Originally published in 1957, it tells the story of Morris Bober, a destitute grocery store owner who’s violently robbed by two masked gunmen. Morris is badly injured in the attack, and so he soon hires an assistant to help out with the store: a young drifter named Frank, who indeed quickly improves the store’s patronage. Malamud’s novel is at once a delicate study of Jewish-American life in the 1950s and a slow-burning drama of violence, domestic realism, and parent-child relationships.

 

So Long, See You Tomorrow by William Maxwell

Perhaps my favorite book on this list, this 1980 short novel by the late William Maxwell is one of those books that’s rewarding to read over and over again. It’s delicate and heart-wrenching all at once, and it’s sorely under-read. Its premise is fairly simple: From many years distant, it tells the multi-layered story of a first-person narrator who befriends the son of a murderer in small-town Illinois. There’s so much that I admire about this novel, but to offer the shorthand: It’s a gut-wrenchingly realistic character study, and it’s one that’s carefully designed to reward multiple readings. It’s one of those books that makes you pause after reading the final line. You deflate, as the whole the book and its resonance washes over you.

 

The Power and the Glory by Graham Greene

Initially released in 1940, The Power and the Glory’s narrative style feels surprisingly modern. Engaging from the first page, it tells the story of an unnamed Catholic “whisky priest” living in an isolated region of Mexico in the 1930s. During this era, the Mexican government was in conflict with the Catholic church — you can read more about the Cristero War online — and in the whisky priest’s state this conflict is taken especially seriously, meaning that Catholicism is effectively outlawed. The novel’s main character is a priest on-the-run, struggling at once with his faith, alcoholism, and his perilous circumstance. Greene’s writing is supremely readable, and the plot is often exciting, suspenseful, and unexpected.


About How Quickly She Disappears by Raymond Fleischmann:

It’s been twenty years since Elisabeth’s twin sister, Jacqueline, disappeared without a trace. Now thirty-year-old Elisabeth is living far from home in a small Alaskan town. She’s in a loveless marriage and has a precocious young daughter she loves more than anything but who reminds her too much of her long-missing sister.

But then Alfred, a dangerous stranger with a plan of his own, arrives in town and commits an inexplicable act of violence. And he offers a startling revelation: He knows exactly what happened to Elisabeth’s sister, but he’ll reveal this truth only if she fulfills his three requests.

Increasingly isolated from her neighbors and imprisoned by the bitter cold and her own obsession, Elisabeth can almost hear her sister’s voice saying, Come and find me. And so she will, even if it means putting herself—and her family—in danger.


Comment below for a chance to win a copy of How Quickly She Disappears by Raymond Fleischmann!

To enter, make sure you’re a registered member of the site and simply leave a comment below.

How Quickly She Disappears Comment Sweepstakes: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN.  A purchase does not improve your chances of winning.  Sweepstakes open to legal residents of 50 United States, D.C., and Canada (excluding Quebec), who are 18 years or older as of the date of entry.  To enter, complete the “Post a Comment” entry at https://www.criminalelement.com/four-overlooked-literary-classics/ beginning at 12:00 p.m. Eastern Time (ET) January 21, 2020. Sweepstakes ends at 11:59 a.m. ET February 4, 2020. Void outside the United States and Canada and where prohibited by law. Please see full details and official rules here. Sponsor: Macmillan, 120 Broadway, New York, NY 10010.

Learn More Or Order A Copy

Comments

  1. John Smith

    I’ve only read Malamud’s “The Natural.” Thanks for the heads-up on these classics!

  2. Write My Essay UK

    Great work & great post. I am really inspired by it.

  3. Shirley Evans

    Sounds so, so good!

  4. Sally Schmidt

    Thanks for the suggestions. I haven’t read any of these but will rectify that soon.

  5. Burma Turner

    Very interesting list, I will check these out!

  6. Anne

    Fascinating and thought provoking post. I enjoy the classics which are memorable and unforgettable. Bernard Malamud’s novels are treasures which I enjoyed many years ago. Graham Greene’s are intriguing and unique. I would love to read your novel. Thanks.

    • Patricia Askins
      • Patricia Askins

        I’ve had my eye on this book since I first saw it online. I would love to win and read it! I’d be sure to review it too.

  7. Joanne Mielczarski

    I would love to win a copy of this book. Thanks for the chance.

  8. Anita Sue Hamilton

    Classic books are great to lean about.

  9. Kezia King

    Wow! These are all new to me, but they look interesting. Thanks!

  10. carloshmarlo

    I’ve always had trouble getting into Greene’s books. I think I’d enjoy a bit more Malamud though, Thanks for the reminder. crs(at)codedivasites(dot)com

  11. elvinoray

    Looks great 🙂

  12. Alicia Haney

    Your book sounds very intriguing and like a very good page turner! I would love to read it. I love the cover. You are a new author to me. Thanks for the chance. Have a Great week. God Bless you.

  13. Alice Glover

    The Pedersen Kid sounds the most interesting.

  14. Ruth

    When I was younger I read literary fiction, classics and The Assistant was meaningful and profound. Thanks for this captivating post.

  15. Margie Shaw

    I haven’t read any of the others but am really looking forward to reading How Quickly She Disappears. I think it sounds riveting!

  16. James Watts

    Great choices all — especially William Maxwell’s “So Long, See You Tomorrow.” I discovered this book by chance some 35 years ago, and it has captivated me every time I’ve re-read it.

  17. Jill Carpenter

    I love finding out about authors and books I might never been exposed to except through articles like this one.Thank-you so much.

  18. Tiffany

    These look great

  19. Rachael Pendleton

    Sounds like an interesting book!

  20. Brandy Ybarra

    I’m not saying I immediately checked out a book with The Pedersen Kid in it from my library, but…. I’m not saying I didn’t do it, either. ;D

  21. Padmini Rao

    These books look really interesting.

  22. Tamara Limestahl

    I have had this book on my radar for a while and I would LOVE to read it, review it Amazon and feature it on my book blog, and all of my social media accounts!

  23. Kelly Martin

    Looks like I’ve got a few more books to add to my TBR list!

  24. Karen Hale

    I often wonder how many great books I miss because they don’t get the attention they deserve. I definitely want to check out these!

  25. lasvegasnv

    haven’t read them yet

  26. Sarah

    Looks like some interesting choices!

  27. Roxanna Buck

    I have added these to my must read list now 😊

  28. Kaye Killgore

    I haven’t read any of these, they all sound interesting

  29. Jeana0331

    I have been seeing this book everywhere and I’m intrigued! My kind of book for sure!

  30. LeMinou

    They all sound intriguing. Thanks for the chance.

  31. Christal M

    Looks like a great read!

  32. Linda Taylor-Morgan

    Ah so many books so little time!. They all sound great. Looking forward to reading your lastest .Tks

  33. sue weatherbee

    Gotta love a mystery with twins! Looking forward to this.

  34. Susan T.

    I was not aware of any of these books and now I need to check them out! I have to say that I love the peppy rainbow cover of the William H. Gass book contrasted with the story description. It could not be more inappropriate! Lol!

  35. LINDA COSBY

    I would like to read this.

  36. Desmond Warzel

    Count me in, please!

  37. Diana Hardt

    It sounds like a really interesting book.

  38. Michelle

    Would be awesome to win a copy!

  39. Robin Weatherington

    I wanna win!

  40. Michael Carter

    Sounds great!
    Yes, please enter me in this sweepstakes.
    Thanks —

  41. Stacy

    These all sound interesting! Adding to my TBR list!

  42. lostinastack

    Thanks for the recommendations! I’m looking forward to reading your novel!

  43. John Davis

    I appreciate the metaphor of being trapped not only by severe winter but by relationships. Should serve as an excellent basis for the theme, as suggested in the excellent review also provided.

  44. downeaster

    Four more books to read

  45. Susan Morris

    I have not read any of the books mentioned, but will definitely be looking them up. Thank you!

  46. Erin F

    Looks great!

  47. Brad

    So long, see you tomorrow sounds particularly interesting to me, and I’d love to read How quickly she disappears

  48. CarolT

    I will look into these. I don’t remember reading any of them when they came out.

  49. Dorothy Minor

    I’m always on the hunt for overlooked classics! Thanks for these suggestions.

  50. Beth Talmage

    I hadn’t read this work by William Maxwell, but your description describes my experience with everything else of his that I’ve read. Now I have something to add to my TBR. Thank you.

  51. mkear

    The books listed above all sound interesting. Will have to look for them to read. Would like to read the new book, sounds good.

  52. Dianna Young

    Great suggestions! Sound interesting…I’m in!

  53. Janet Gould

    I love all of those books and can’t wait to read the new one.

  54. Diane Furst

    This is the second time in a few weeks that Graham Greene’s novel has been mentioned to me. I definitely need to look into his work.

  55. Marisa Young

    Interesting book recommendations. I will have to check them out.

  56. Katreviewsbooks

    These sound really good! Thanks for the recs!

  57. Lori Byrd

    Great post and these sound like really great books.

  58. Sherman H.

    Very interesting post and will check out these classics!

  59. shastajjjw15

    Interesting take on judgement of literary; enjoyable read

  60. Alice Glover

    Interesting post. I’d love to read How Quickly She Disappears.

  61. Barbara Raeuber

    The plot sounds terrific!

  62. Amy Smith

    These are going on my reading list.

  63. Gail B Smith

    Sounds like an interesting novel–added to my TBR list

  64. Gail Woodward

    These all sound interesting, and Raymond Fleischmann’s book sounds very exciting too! Thanks.

  65. Mary Woods

    I’m always looking for my next read and these books sound very interesting. Thanks for the suggestions! And How Quickly She Disappears sounds good as well.

  66. Ann Schroder

    Fascinating list. Thanks for the suggestions!

  67. Joni Elmore

    Want to read them all!

  68. NFCarle

    More for my reading list. Thanks!

  69. lsm2558

    This article gives the light in which we can observe the reality. This is very nice one and gives indepth information. Thanks for this nice article.

  70. far 77

    Thank you for taking the time to publish this information very useful!

  71. jfk black car service

    Wow, excellent post. I’d like to draft like this too – taking time and real hard work to make a great article. This post has encouraged me to write some posts that I am going to write soon.

  72. Play Slots

    Great knowledge, do anyone mind merely reference back to it

  73. Légalisation Géorgie

    Wonderful blog! Do you have any tips and hints for aspiring writers? Because I’m going to start my website soon, but I’m a little lost on everything. Many thanks!

  74. Sviluppo app

    Fantastic blog! Do you have any tips and hints for aspiring writers? I’m planning to start my own website soon but I’m a little lost on everything. Would you propose starting with a free platform like WordPress or go for a paid option? There are so many options out there that I’m completely overwhelmed .. Any suggestions? Many thanks!

  75. gold name necklace

    This is very educational content and written well for a change. It’s nice to see that some people still understand how to write a quality post.!

  76. Welcome Home Care Package

    What better way to say thank you to your clients than with a welcome home detailed gift box overflowing with delicious goodies for your special New Home, Condo or Apartment owner to enjoy.

  77. luxury property Thailand

    This is a great post. I like this topic.This site has lots of advantage.I found many interesting things from this site. It helps me in many ways.Thanks for posting this again.

  78. 토토사이트

    This is a safety guarantee net that aims to make a safe playground .You can select and use only the major sites while using our banner Toto site

  79. Superslot

    Positive site, where did u come up with the information on this posting? I’m pleased I discovered it though, ill be checking back soon to find out what additional posts you include.

  80. situs judi online

    Very efficiently written information. It will be beneficial to anybody who utilizes it, including me. Keep up the good work. For sure i will check out more posts. This site seems to get a good amount of visitors.

  81. Display Stand Dubai

    thanks for this usefull article, waiting for this article like this again.

  82. Excellent article. Very interesting to read. I really love to read such a nice article. Thanks! keep rocking.

  83. Best consultants for canada

    Yes i am totally agreed with this article and i just want say that this article is very nice and very informative article.I will make sure to be reading your blog more. You made a good point but I can’t help but wonder, what about the other side? !!!!!!Thanks

  84. lose weight without dieting

    The third part of human existence is involved by the regular process – Sleep. the most functions of sleep are rest and also the restoration of the body consumed energy. To sleep, someone needs 6–9 hours.

  85. Cake Delivery in Delhi

    Yes i am totally agreed with this article and i just want say that this article is very nice and very informative article.I will make sure to be reading your blog more. You made a good point but I can’t help but wonder, what about the other side? !!!!!!Thanks

  86. buy youtube subscribers India

    Great job for publishing such a beneficial web site. Your web log isn’t only useful but it is additionally really creative too.

  87. Increase DR 50 Plus

    I will increase your domain rating DR 50 Plus with seo authority backlinks

  88. isopropyl alcohol 99

    The largest use for isopropyl alcohol is as a solvent, and usually as a cleaner. It can be used as an industrial cleaner for machinery and parts.

  89. buffet catering service Merseyside

    Instagram bots and automation, the kind we’re talking about, are bots that follow people, like posts, view stories, and comment for you.

  90. testbankbase

    Nice to be visiting your blog once more, it has been months for me. Well this article that ive been waited for therefore long. i want this article to finish my assignment within the faculty, and it has same topic together with your article. Thanks, nice share.

  91. Accident Attorney

    SocialMeep is an AI-powered Instagram growth and automation tool that gets you real, organic Instagram followers

  92. Top storage energy products

    we have listed the best solar battery storage solutions for 2020. The storage systems are categorized according to size and whether they integrate an inverter. Besides, the article throws light upon such questions as types of batteries, their advantages and disadvantages, things to consider, and others.

  93. Wordpress Website Developer

    Your work is truly appreciated round the clock and the globe. It is incredibly a comprehensive and helpful blog.

  94. Audi Repairing services in dubai

    Your work is truly appreciated round the clock and the globe. It is incredibly a comprehensive and helpful blog.

  95. top forox robots

    A robot or an expert advisor is a trading software coded to make consistent gains in the financial markets. These automated software samples handle all the hindrances of manual trading, including risk management, psychology, strategy formulation, etc.

  96. florida concealed weapons permit

    This particular papers fabulous, and My spouse and i enjoy each of the perform that you have placed into this. I’m sure that you will be making a really useful place. I has been additionally pleased. Good perform!

  97. IOP drug rehabs Austin Texas

    Nice post. I was checking constantly this blog and I am impressed! Extremely helpful information specially the last part I care for such info a lot. I was seeking this particular information for a very long time. Thank you and good luck.

  98. 먹튀검증

    thanks for the tips and information..i really appreciate it..

  99. Unfair Dismissal Australia

    Hey, I am so thrilled I found your blog, I am here now and could just like to say thank for a tremendous post and all round interesting website. Please do keep up the great work. I cannot be without visiting your blog again and again.

  100. 토토사이트

    Nice post mate, keep up the great work, just shared this with my friendz

  101. Professionelles Übersetzungsbüro ✓ Übersetzungen ✓ Dolmetschen ✓ mehr als 35 Jahre Erfahrung ✓ alle Sprachen ✓ Qualitätsstandard ISO 17100 ✓ Rechtssichere Übersetzung ✓ Juristische Fachübersetzung ✓ Übersetzungsbüro ✓ Übersetzungsdienst ✓Übersetzungsagentur ✓Übersetzungsservice ✓ Übersetzungen ✓ beglaubigte ✓ Übersetzung, Übersetzen ✓individuelle Beratung.✓✓ Alle Sprachen. Alle Fachrichtungen,✓ 35 Jahre Erfahrung ✓ Express Übersetzungsbüro ✓ juristische und technische Übersetzung ✓ Profi Fachübersetzungen ✓ Deutsch Englisch

  102. UP Board 10th Model Paper 2021

    Nice post mate, keep up the great work, just shared this with my friendz

  103. Recommended Computers for Accountants

    Took me time to read all the comments, but I really enjoyed the article. It proved to be Very helpful to me and I am sure to all the commenters here! It’s always nice when you can not only be informed, but also entertained!

  104. scottsdale jewelry

    Thanks for sharing this information. I really like your blog post very much. You have really shared a informative and interesting blog post with people..

  105. 7M live

    Positive site, where did u come up with the information on this posting? I’m pleased I discovered it though, ill be checking back soon to find out what additional posts you include.

  106. Thankyou for this wondrous post, I am glad I observed this website on yahoo.

  107. Spencer

    This is a very nice post ,I have been impressed by the unique content this site has to offer keep up the good work

  108. emiten.com

    I was surfing net and fortunately came across this site and found very interesting stuff here. Its really fun to read. I enjoyed a lot. Thanks for sharing this wonderful information.

  109. 澳洲代考

    It is a fantastic post – immense clear and easy to understand. I am also holding out for the sharks too that made me laugh.

  110. ufabet

    I have read all the comments and suggestions posted by the visitors for this article are very fine,We will wait for your next article so only.Thanks!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *